Surge in '˜boutique' distillers taking on big brands

More than 50 new distilleries opened in the UK last year, showing the 'explosive creativity' of craft spirits, a study reveals.

The number of Scottish distilleries has jumped 50% in the last year. Picture: John Devlin

The number of “boutique” distillers is pushing big brands off the shelf, said accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.

In Scotland, the number of distilleries has grown by 50 per cent in the last year, with 18 opening in 2016, compared with 12 in 2015.

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England saw a 25 per cent increase in new distilleries over the last year to a record 35, with UK sales of gin breaking though the £1 billion sales mark for the first time in 2016.

James Simmonds, of UHY Hacker Young, said: “Both the craft spirits and the craft brewery sectors are going through a period of explosive creativity. You can see that in everything from the logos, branding and advertising of these products.

“The quality of the product is streets ahead of their big brand competitors. It is no wonder that the global drinks giants are worried, and the best way they have found to deal with that new competition is get out chequebooks and buy them.”